erasing clouds

What Slipped Through, Part One: 15 One-Sentence Reviews

by dave heaton

It's inevitable that CDs I get for review will fall to the wayside, that I won;'t find the time to write proper reviews of them all. So I'm doing my best to write at least something about those that I've listened to a fair amount but haven't written about. Is it possible to write one-sentence reviews that aren't shallow or unfairly dismissive? Let's see...

Agape, self-titled EP (self-released)

Aggressive electronic music in the style of Atari Teenage Riot, but more joyous, full of a goofy "let's f*ck the world up" punk rock attitude that helps make it energizing.

Avoidance Theory, The Shape of Trees (Shmat)

The shape of trees is one thing, their mysterious language is another; Californians Avoidance Theory play pretty yet enigmatic pop music that in its melodies and atmosphere hides secrets and whispers.

Canibus, Hip-Hop for Sale (Babygrande)

An occasionally impressive MC who never seems to know what to do with his talent, Canibus sounds more potent over these beats than he has in a while, but still generally flounders in a sea of cliches and empty boasts, with grit but not much heart.

Mark de Clive-Lowe, Tide's Arising (Antipodean/ABB)

Traveling into space, time, the heavens...Tide's Arising is mellow soul/funk/hip-hop with heavy Prince overtones, aspiring to a Herbie Hancock-ish feeling of transportation to another land, and only occasionally attaining it.

The Divorce, The Gifted Program (Made in Mexico)

The Divorce have an infectious, bright, sleek sound - that of big, snappy, stylish rock with overtones both punk-ish and Brit-pop-ish - which, more than the lyrics or any particular musical trait, is what pulls you through the album and keeps it entertaining.

Dungen, Ta Det Lugnt (Kemado)

It's hard to believe that Dungen's name is all over the music media these days, consider their style '60s-style guitar-heavy, psychedelic stoner-rock, with lyrics sung in Swedish (then again, you can't underestimate the pop side to this, the way hooks and harmonies emerge from the cloud of smoke and wrap themselves around your brain).

The Great Distance, self-titled (self-released)

A statue covers her eyes in sadness, or shame, on the album cover; inside, in a world of shadows and echoes, a duo from London creates haunting, slow-motion, guitar-and-piano-laden music about heartbreak, about hurt, about trying to find something or someone worth living for.

Ham1, self-titled (self-released)

A ragged pop-rock ramble through America, capturing the vibe of small towns and empty highways and dead motels; it's as alternately fascinating and weary as such a road trip itself would be.

Lambchop/Hands Off Cuba, CoLab (Merge)

This intriguing collaboration between Lambchop and Hands Off Cuba opens with a typically stately, cinematic, minimalist, Lambchopian sad country piano ballad and continues with three tracks of electronic duo Hands Off Cuba deconstructing the elements of Lambchop in a lovely, vibrant way.

Carter Little, Dare to Be Small (Lobby Door Music)

I have an inherent bias against CDs where the cover art has too many photos of the artist, and against music that seems to be going for that Norah Jones-esque vibe of "adult sophistication", but this particular sophisticate's from Nashville, and just as often shows a rawer country side as the "thoughtful" pop some of even the most pop songs here are still well-put-together, at least.

The Mathletes, Jest & Earnest (Asaurus)

One-man, home-recording, ragged rock animal records massive (no really, massive) two-disc collection of catchy, often funny, ocasionally rude, sometimes sweet, messy (but loveably so) songs with names like "Let's Read Pitchfork Together Everyday" and "An Apology to a Girl to Whom I Told a Bit of Personal Information (Who Is Now Using Me as Her Therapist on an Almost Daily Basis)".

Modern Skirts, Catalogue of Generous Men (self-released)

Imminently likable pop music in a Beach Boys meets Death Cab vein, Modern Skirts' debut full-length has a fetching "up" tone to it, even as its lyrics don't evade real-life sadness and struggles - real-life music with hope and optimism thriving between its notes.

Paleo, Misery, Missouri (Future Farmer)

One-man-band Paleo's album Misery, Missouri is filled with country-folk music that's been twisted and stomped into the shapes of its master's eccentricities: a wild, warped yet still somehow brittle and sensitive good time.

Player Hater, Picking You Up Just to Put You Down (Kessel Run Records)

Player Hater's sort of like a less drunk, less dour, less cynical Arab Strap, but in a melodic country-ish setting...that is, sung/spoken short stories about people and their crazy lives, laidback yet potent, so they sneak up on you.

Meri von KleinSmid, Ex Vivo (Mimeograph)

Eight multi-faceted works of atmosphere and thunder from innovative sound artist Meri von KleinSmid; each sonic collage/composition in its own way involves, haunts, and provokes.

this month's issue
about erasing clouds

Copyright (c) 2005 erasing clouds